October 31st Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid studios hosts their Halloween stream and shares what they’ve learned from Apocalypse and the winners of the Halloween Event.
- Extra Life 24-hour Pathfinder/DnD Livestream on November 2nd (10AM PDT)
- Siege mode has been coming along quite well, will be showing a bit today.
- There’s a couple of new hires that will be updated on the intrepid site soon.
- The creative director’s letter is still waiting on a few things to be confirmed.
Castle Sieges Update:
The destruction mechanics for siege are being finalized. Balance is being worked on, layouts for the siege maps are being finalized. Finalizing strategic objectives and how it interacts with players to determine the flow of battle. We found that couple of the warrior and mage abilities didnt work too well, so we’re changing them up to adjust them and make them more fun.
Extra Life 24-hour Charity Stream:
The Pathfinder DnD campaign will be set 50 years after returning to the world of Verra after the Apocalypse. The various races have come in and established cities and sibling cities under their node area of influence. The players will be part of the frontguard militia and are part of different factions depending on where there allegiance lies like the mage order, the ranger order – these various organizations are facing the various threats to protect the nodes, it’s going to be a sandbox campaign and it will be up to the participants to decide which threats they go after. As their choices will have consequences. Also if you want to get Margaret killed in the campaign you can buy that with a donation. Some of the players will know each other beforehand, others will have heard of one another before. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most ruthless, we’re going to be at a 12. There will be intermissions with board games and donation milestones where you can influence the pathfinder campaign directly.
Lore Tidbit: The Verdant Keeper are a sect of people that keep track of all the things that are necessary to have successful crops and various other things that are necessary for a society to keep growing. During the transition from Sanctus to Verra (The start of the game where players are returning to reclaim the world), these people had to re-learn how to grow things without magic. So they spend their time learning about the world in a scientific way, they keep track of all the seasons, changing times and the years/decades;/centuries that go by to create a map for themselves and the civilizations that they support to help with growing crops and keeping people healthy and happy.
Programming Team Updates: Kevin McPherson (Lead Programmer) is brought on stream to provide a review of the Apocalypse testing. Our team has been incredibly busy with the early access for apocalypse going live. As its our testing ground for the MMO, we’ve been figuring out a lot of optimization and back end things thanks to the testing. When I worked at other companies it was an established platform, with existing account services and code that allows users to log in and play the game. In our case it didnt exist as we were a new studio so all of that has to be built from the ground up. We’ve also got to build our own patcher from scratch. Testing big scale problems, such as issues on the server back end and more, from all these methods large scale testing was essential to figuring these things out right now so we wont have these issues later. We want the Alpha 1 and further testing phases to be relatively fun, unlike when eastern games are ported over and labelled as alphas when they’re actually a finished product being ported over. In the past couple of weeks we overhauled our melee combat through player feedback. Thank you to all the players that have been helping us collect data. Gathering data through logging and tracking statistics is key. We’ve done a lot of automation refinement, we’ve been running hundreds of thousands of bots on our internal servers to stress test things. Gap closing through the acrobatic leaps were a lot of work to implement, we’ve also been working on the friend and party system bugs.
Leaderboards will be coming online as they are currently in testing. The leaderboards are important to track who is the top crop farmer, the top fisherman and more in the MMORPG. The UI is also being worked on heavily as its a key feature of the MMO. We’re primarily prepping for the move to Unreal 4.231 to support the new Niagara Particle system that our environment and effects artists are using. We also have the new destruction system that is in a beta state as it provides a lot of things to us for future castle siege stuff. Supporting the environment team with tools for node building, destruction and more is critical for getting things done. The siege weapons are being worked on to make them driveable as vehicles, mini-guns on the sides of the siege vehicles so you can defend them. Also the deployables/consumables so you can drop down a med pack or deploy siege weapons and traps, which will scale to dropping homes and more later in the MMO. This piece of technology is probably the most complicated thing to build when it comes to the MMO, we’ve done this before on other MMO’s, but now with newer technology available there’s new approaches. Kevin McPherson worked on Planetside 2 which still holds the record for 2000+ players in a single server instance. However we’d really love to go higher than that, we want multiple server instances to function parallel to each other.
Unreal Engine has a good networking layer that is quite robust and supports a lot of entities, but for an MMO we’re talking about hundreds upon hundreds of players and NPC’s in one locale. So in order to support that we need a more distributed system, where we have different server processes running different groups of entities and they communicate to each other and then upscale/downscale based on activity so if nobody is in a zone, we dont need a lot of power there, but if its 12 noon on a Saturday in a city with trade/business or if there’s a siege going on we need a lot of horsepower to support that.
Environment Team Updates: Michael Bacon (Lead Environment Artist) is brought on stream. We worked on the new snow map for apocalypse and have been working heavily on the castle siege maps, besides that we’ve been working on the various tools and templates required to use with the building tool to start building the dwarven architecture. The destruction mechanics have been tweaked so that once destroyed they dont break certain structures such as bridges completely but instead turn them into obstacle courses so it becomes harder to cross in order to reach objectives.
Character Team Updates: Keith Kovach (Senior Character Artist) is brought on stream. I’ve been working on the armors for the different races currently. Half of the character team has been working on the mounts and the various backer rewards as they use similar skeletons/rigging as others. This allows us to make more creatures using the shared models/animations. As we’ve characterized the master skeletons/rigging for the creatures, we’re able to speed up the process in creating all of these. Jincy has been working on the Daystrider mount. I’m currently working on the Elder Dragon.
Community Team Updates: Lt. Toast (Community Manager) is brought on stream to share the Halloween event winners, community highlight clips from Apocalypse and to go through the QnA Session.
Q: Are there plans to make blocking more responsive in apocalypse to make it more skill based and if so how will it translate into the hybrid combat for the MMORPG?
A: The blocking system currently has a networking issue when you block, we played around in making it work and its difficult with different lag situations. We have to make it universally responsive. We’re not making a fighting game so the networking is different. We do want it to be strategic so we’ll keep working on it.
Q: What RPG elements can a player choose at character creation? Like bird sign etc.
A: There is a limited amount of stuff that you can choose, we’re still figuring out what that’s going to be and what gameplay implications might be for that stuff. We have to be careful of what we put in, we want you to start fresh and figure out things along the way. We do want something indicative of your life before Verra.
Q: What sort of equipment will be available for mounts?
A: You will have standardized saddle/barding and barding will be split into 3 different types. There will be craftable and quest barding.
Q: Will player owned shops only be available in economic nodes?
A: No. Economic will have more available for the mayor to choose to build. Every city will have economic activity, but the economic node will have global activity. Besides the playerstores where you open up a shop on your character, there are rentable stores/marketplaces from the economic node.
Q: Will it be possible to stow multiple weapons on your back?
A: You cannot have 2 different weapons on your back. You will be able to stow weapons and we will have some stacking rules, we need to make sure the silhouette still looks good.
Q: As we know costumes are not genderlocked, will a wedding dress still appear on a male character or will it transform into a tuxedo?
A: A wedding dress would transform into a tuxedo.
Q: Will we be able to control the camera to take screenshots in the MMORPG?
A: We’re not entirely sure about that as there are some gameplay implications to that. You wont be able to do that in real time, but we will have a recording tool where you can go back in recording and freefly the camera. So in real time – no. Recording tool – yes.
Q: If there are legendary weapons and armors that players can obtain, how much of the rare equipment that intrepid makes be seen in the first year of the MMO and will it be rotated?
A: That will depend on what the players do. We want the players to discover that. We’re making things that we want to be attainable, but we want to ensure the effort put in to acquire them is monumental. Depending on the node development, some things might not be available.
Q: What lessons has AoC learned from the Archeage Unchained launch in terms of server stability?
A: As players we have all experienced launches and most of the time they are not smooth and pretty tough. That’s because of the sheer struggle to launch an MMORPG. Part of it is understanding on the player’s side and understanding that the development process for the scale of games and what goes into making them in-house. You dont know what you dont know. We try to take every bit of information that we can from personal experiences to other studios and launching early access for Apocalypse. We try to take as much from them and learn from them. We got a lot of flak for doing Apocalypse, but in reality it helped us discover unknowns that we will now include in our preparation for our flagship project for the MMO.
Q: What information are you currently gathering from the BR mode for apocalypse and how does it help the MMO?
A: We are gathering an incredible amount of information ranging from the combat side to the match side of thing, each individual attack is tracked, what weapons have high accuracy, how many people are dying over time and use the data to figure out the health of the game. But all of that is just the player side. There’s also so much more on the server side, networking side and account services side to identify the bottlenecks and to break things down on a piece by piece basis. We now know how to move forward for these things on the MMORPG.
The biggest solution from last December was to rework the architecture. That was a foundational system and as you build stuff on top of them, Apocalypse allowed us to test those foundations before we built on top of them, which saved us a lot of time and resources. An MMORPG’s latency requirement is a lot different from an action based game. In our objective to create a hybrid combat system, we need to raise the bar to exist in an action combat system. Because if the bare minimum is the action combat, everything needs to exist at the same pace.
Q: Will large ships be able to be modded to offer amenities like guild halls and services or will they be purely for transportation?
A: They wont be pure transformation/combat. There will be particular functions, utilities and ancillary functions. Probably wont be a floating guild hall though as we want it to be fixed.
Q: Does the biome of a node also affect the aesthetics of it? Will Elvens swamp be the same as Elven beach node?
A: No they will not look the same. The environment is a variable in the equation of a node’s appearance. They do influence a lot of things.
Q: Do dyes expire?
A: No, dyes do not expire (the item does not go away after some time). If you apply the dye it will stay until a new dye is applied.
Q: Will there be class or race specific mounts in game?
A: Yes there will be specific mounts, but we will not lock them. They will definitely be associated with races and more though. For example a human mount might be a horse at the human starting zone. The renkai or orc might be a turtle. But anybody can achieve those.